Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Al-Muhaddithat | The Female Scholars of Islam | Dr Mohammad Akram Nadwi | Cambridge Islamic College


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Muslims Aren’t A Race, So I Can’t Be Racist, Right? Wrong.


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According to Hall, there is a new type of racism — “cultural racism,” which is my focus here. Racism is no longer about race (skin color) but culture. People are Othered and discriminated against not (simply) because of the color of their skin (or other phenotypes) but because of their beliefs and practices associated with some “imagined culture.”
Cultural racism, therefore, happens when certain people perceive their beliefs and customs as being culturally superior to the beliefs and customs of other groups of people. Cultural racism, in-turn, reproduces the idea of “the hierarchy of cultures,” meaning, in the context of current affairs, that “our” Western culture is superior to “their” Islamic culture. This way of thinking is problematic because it essentializes diverse classifications like “Westerners” and “Muslims.” It creates a binary of “Western = civilized” and “Islamic = uncivilized.”
Bobby Sayyid, another favorite thinker of mine, argues that Islamophobia is undoubtedly a form of racism. He regards it as a type of racism that “takes up the white man’s burden for the new American century. It is a humanitarian intervention, not a mission civilisatrice; [Islamophobia] only wants to spread democracy not to expropriate resources; it does not want to exterminate ignoble savages, only to domesticate unruly Muslims.” In this context, the U.S. invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan can be treated as wars driven by cultural racism. Bush wanted to spread “democracy” and “liberate” Muslims, particularly women, among other things. Muslims, he theorized, were incapable of developing these “culturally superior” ways of life on their own, so they must be molded and trained to be more like “us,” the civilized people. If racism represents systemic oppression based upon preconceived notions (or stereotypes) of particular social groups, then the U.S. government is most definitely guilty of racism. To be specific, cultural racism.
Sayyid makes another point that is worth mentioning. He states that Muslims are depicted in public discourse as “arch-villains,” an idea which produces all sorts of “racist anxieties” in the minds of non-Muslims. Yet, despite the obvious connections between racism and anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia has been presented as nothing as sordid as racism, “but rather a rational response to real threats to western, nay universal, values,” as he puts it.
Let me be clear here. There is nothing rational about Islamophobia. Treating Muslims poorly because they are Muslim is racism. It is that simple. If someone gives a Muslim women wearing the hijab a dirty look, sorry, but you are racist. If someone assaults a Muslim woman wearing the hijab — which has recently happened in Toronto — yeah, you are a racist. Time to face the music.
Need more proof that Islamophobia is a form of cultural racism? Consider the experience of Inderjit Singh Mukker. Mukker was assaulted in September 2015 for “looking Muslim”; he was dragged out of his car and beaten to a pulp by a man screaming “you’re a terrorist, bin Laden!” The twist here is that Mukker is not even Muslim; he is Sikh. The perpetrator of this crime looked at Mukker’s turban and thought “he’s a Muslim. He’s dangerous.” A cultural symbol, in this case, was used as a signifier to judge an entire group of people, however wrongly. Is this racism? Most definitely. Even Sikhs suffer from Islamophobia.


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Dalit Muslims of India



For centuries India's social structure was built around a rigid Hindu caste system. While the caste system was constitutionally abolished in 1950, its legacy still deeply affects contemporary Indian society.
The Hindu population, around 84 percent of the 1.2 billion people that live in the country, is still influenced by the four main traditional castes, which also have their own sub-sects: Brahmins, the priestly and academic class; Kshatriya, the warrior caste; Vaishya, which comprises the business community; and Shudra, the working class.

Outside these four groups are others, including the Dalits, who are at the bottom of the hierarchy.
Dalits have traditionally done jobs considered ritually impure, like garbage collection, street sweeping, the cremation of dead bodies and the disposal of human waste.
With Dalits continuing to face prejudice and discrimination within their own communities, some try to find social acceptance by converting to Buddhism, Christianity, Sikhism or Islam.
Link

Monday, 14 November 2016

'...you will see wonders, vast tribulations, and difficult times'


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"O community of Muslims, roll up your sleeves, for the matter is momentous. Prepare for an imminent journey. Garner provision now as the journey is long. Lighten your loads, for before you is an ascent most steep! Only those traveling lightly shall bear its climb.
O humanity, before the Hour comes, you will see wonders, vast tribulations, and difficult times. Darkness will prevail, and foulness will take the forefront. Those who enjoin right will be oppressed, and those who condemn vice will be suppressed.
Hence, strengthen your faith for that time, and cling to faith as you would clench on for dear life.
Flee to righteous deeds, and force yourselves to perform them. Be patient during the difficult times, and you will eventually arrive to eternal bliss."
- A sermon from the mercy to all the worlds, the Prophet Muhammad

Thursday, 10 November 2016

For Helping Immigrants, Chobani’s Founder Draws Threats


By many measures, Chobani embodies the classic American immigrant success story.

Its founder, Hamdi Ulukaya, is a Turkish immigrant of Kurdish descent. He bought a defunct yogurt factory in upstate New York, added a facility in Twin Falls, Idaho, and now employs about 2,000 people making Greek yogurt.
But in this contentious election season, the extreme right has a problem with Chobani: In its view, too many of those employees are refugees.
As Mr. Ulukaya has stepped up his advocacy — employing more than 300 refugees in his factories, starting a foundation to help migrants, and traveling to the Greek island of Lesbos to witness the crisis firsthand — he and his company have been targeted with racist attacks on social media and conspiratorial articles on websites including Breitbart News.
Now there are calls to boycott Chobani. Mr. Ulukaya and the company have been taunted with racist epithets on Twitter and Facebook. Fringe websites have published false stories claiming Mr. Ulukaya wants “to drown the United States in Muslims.” And the mayor of Twin Falls has received death threats, partly as a result of his support for Chobani.




Monday, 7 November 2016

Stop telling Muslim teens that mixing genders is some kind of fitna

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Two minutes after we settled into our chairs, one of the MYNA volunteers told us we needed to sit separately, boys on one side of the room and girls on the other.
My younger cousin voiced it perfectly when he simply declared to their faces, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.”
And he was right.
This was the only event I had been to that weekend that was gender segregated, which is bizarre. Why are we singling young people out with these regulations? In doing so, we assume some things about kids and teenagers. We create rules based on these assumptions, and we force a narrative of young people as characterized by wrong intentions and inappropriate interactions.
The worst part is that this kind of separation is not unique to this one event. It happens frequently in Muslim gatherings. I have been fortunate to have mostly been surrounded by progressive, active, well-rounded Muslims, so I personally don’t face this kind of situation often. But the fact is that it happens a lot. Too often.
It characterizes and defines many young Muslims’ childhoods and adolescence. This has serious implications on the culture of Muslim communities.

To separate young boys and girls is to sexualize their interactions immediately. It is to say that even sitting next to one another is in some way inappropriate. It teaches children that the only relationship between one another is sexual and therefore should be avoided. And it shouldn’t even really matter, but especially when we are sitting with our brothers, or cousins, or close friends we grew up with, to tell us that we might be giving strangers “the wrong idea” is ridiculous on so many levels.